H A&S 263
Introduction to ideas and society of civilization other than the Western. Specific civilization (Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, South Asian) differs from year to year and section to section. For university honors students only. Offered: Sp.
Skin: A Cultural History through Art HA&S 263B (SLN 18747) Spring 2009
The course focuses on exploring various aspects of the cultural history of the skin through art. Being the largest human organ, the skin acts as an interface with the outside world. We will consider prevailing concepts, theories and implications in biology, continental philosophy and the social sciences, as well as historic and contemporary interpretations in visual art. The main focus is on experiential learning by in-depth research and studio practice (art making project).
Course content: I. Brief overview of the anatomy and physiology of skin (lecture) II. The Skin in Western thought (research and discussion) - Boundary metaphors (dichotomies of inside-outside, the body in the world, subjective- objective experience; permeability; penetration; representations in anatomy - conventions and breakthroughs from Vesalius 1543 to the present) - Skin as container: returning image of flayed skin in art: St Bratholomew, Marsyas) - Skin as canvas/ mirror: a site of inscription (identity, markings, skin color) III. Tactility - The largest sensory organ: experience of the world around (touch and tactility) - The body of the future: fabricating new identities / teletactility (Orlan / Stelarc, Stahl Stenslie)
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Course will consist of lectures, readings, discussions, presentations, and one art making project.
No previous experience with art making, biology, or philosophy is required.
Suggested readings: Skin: On the cultural border between self and the world, Claudia Benthien, Columbia U Press, NY 2002 Steven Connor, The book of skin, Cornell U Press, 2004
Class assignments and grading
Course work: Research project: written analysis of a selected historic artwork (5 page paper) Short research project: presentation of a chosen contemporary artist Making project: second skin
Projects and participation.